Japan Times just published an article on polling for the election coming up on December 16, and they expect the LDP to win. The current DPJ government will lose most of their seats. The main question will be if the LDP gains a majority not in need of a coalition partner.
That’s a good occasion to republish a partial translation I did of the section on energy in the LDP election platform document. The first time had some problems with sourcing which are now straightened out. The source is this publication of the full platform. I leave comments from me doubting that the LDP is “pro-nuclear” unchanged.
Insisting on the principle of “safety first” in energy policy
The accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant of TEPCO following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the extreme damages from it have shown the threat of radiation not only to Japan, but to the whole world.
Since our party has followed a pro-nuclear policy until now, we apologize for causing this accident, and express our deepest condolences to all those citizens who even now suffer from the catastrophe.
Doesn’t sound very “pro-nuclear” to me. Hang on, maybe the pro-nuclear part will come later. LDP Member of Parliament Kono remarks in a comment that this is the first time the LDP has apologized for its past pro-nuclear policy in a political platform paper.
We will place the principle of “safety first” (including safety against terrorist acts) at the core of our energy policy. Especially in regard to nuclear power policy, we will give priority to the expert decisions of a regulatory agency that is independent in its competences, its personnel decisions, and its budget over any other consideration.
Short term energy policy
We will thoroughly dig out every possibility of energy, and will make sure of the energy supply needed for keeping up the society and economy, and at the same time aim for a structure of society and economy that is not dependent on nuclear power.
Still waiting for the “pro-nuclear” part. This sounds rather similar to what the current Japanese government decided in September.
Therefore, as the most important task at hand, we will support renewable energy and energy efficiency for three years at the highest possible level. (Emphasis mine).
Sounds good to me, especially the part about supporting renewable.
The decision about restarting nuclear reactors will be done one at a time. We want to decide on all nuclear reactors within three years. In all questions regarding safety, we will follow the expert opinion of the Commission on regulation of nuclear energy.
For those nuclear reactors that the regulatory Commission decides to be unsafe, we plan to fill the gap with the following measures for the time being. Thoroughly support the deployment of solar and wind power and other renewables, support energy efficiency thoroughly, build gas power plants which have less environmental impact, support highly efficient coal power plants, lower the costs of buying fossil fuel by negotiations with the exporting countries, improve the grid connections between different utilities, use the existing coal power plants.
Develop an energy strategy that is responsible now and for the future
In the middle and long term energy policy, we will work toward a energy strategy that is responsible to the future life of the citizens. While we will avoid delaying decisions, we will establish at the latest in ten years a best energy mix that is sustainable in the future. When taking these decisions, we will distinguish if new technology deemed safe by the regulatory commission can be adopted or not.
There is more in the policy platform document, it follows up with a section on prices of electricity. But as far as I can see the position of the LDP on nuclear is quite close to that of the current Japanese government. The LDP as well wants to get to a society not dependent on nuclear energy.
That’s a large shift from previous LDP policy, so it may take some time until Western media gets this right. Having the LDP actually apologize for causing the Fukushima accident should be big news.